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In Words: Tempano

- Pedro Castillo - Sep. 2000 - Roberto Palmitesta -

Pedro Castillo - September 2000

Considered by Musea Records (one of the most important labels of progressive rock in the world) as one of the top ten progressive rock bands in the world, Tempano from Venezuela, right now is giving a positive message and a good example to other local bands about dedication, perseverance and self-belief, and they are also showing the world the talent and creativity that exist in Venezuela.

Part of the history of the band is as it follows:
"This band was formed in February 1977, guided by a symphonic rock with nuances of progressive classicism. They worked arduously and with inspiration from that moment until fulfilling in March 1979, what would come to be the fruit of the inspiration, creativity, feelings and whatever contributed to express what was carried within. By November, everything was ready to roll the movie that would project them until today. In December, the first 6 tracks of Atabal Yemal were recorded, and additionally, it would become the first symphonic rock album edited in Venezuela. A dream came true. Later on, the root of this tree would spread and settle down some others.
After years of ramification and having different ways of life, they returned, by a divine act, to the root that saw them born, just a step from the next millennium. In may of 1998, the second dream, which remained 18 years without being accomplished, began to awake.
Taking three previously unreleased themes from that period, they worked together again during a month to achieve that long awaited dream and to complete the re-edition of Atabal Yemal, giving this project such a place in the 'Universe of the Symphonic Rock'."

Gerardo Ubieda (Drummer of the Tempano)

To keep knowing about Tempano, let's check the interview with Pedro Castillo, voice and guitar player of the band:

How does it feel to be the leader of the best progressive band of Venezuela?

I dont think we are the best symphonic rock band in our country. Actually we are the only active band and it's really a pleasure to join my first band again with more experience than 20 years ago.

How was the idea of making symphonic rock born? What took Tempano to play symphonic rock after so many years of playing commercial rock?

In 1976 we heard Genesis, Yes, Floyd, Bruford, Happy The Man etc. and were surrounded by prog music. And we discovered a way to combine our influences to build a particular sound which is Tempano. After the band split and after spending many years in different projects we get together again to continue what we left 20 years ago. Because Musea showed interest in our very 1st album (Atabal - Yemal) and so we had the possibility of continue working in this direction. Also all the original members were available at that moment (1998) and we decided to join again for a new album.

On your first record you can feel the influences of legendary bands like Genesis. Which are the main influences of Tempano?

Miguel Angel (bass) is a classical guitar graduate, so he is strongly influenced by classical music. Cesar (keyboards) is influenced by opera and classical. Gerardo (drums) and Pedro (guitar) hears a lot of music and represent the balance regarding influences in the band. Personally (Pedro) I'm a fan of Canterbury sounds (Caravan, Hatfield, National Health) so is Gerardo. I also began playing guitar hearing Steve Hackett in front of my speakers.

Do you think that the show that made the return of Tempano official, was the concert of Yes where you were the supporting act?

For our local market (Venezuela) the shows with Yes showed Tempano the very first time after many years of silence.

The night of the Yes show many people, when they saw you walking to the stage said "What is Pedro Castillo doing in here? His style does not combine with the music of Yes?." This was due to the fact that people didn't knew that Tempano was playing symphonic and progressive rock, but after five minutes watching you play, the same people were standing open mouthed and between each song they said to each other "This guys are as good as Yes". What do you think about that?.

Many people got confused, because last time they heard Tempano, the band was playing a very commercial pop rock style and I played 15 years with a pop band called Aditus, so I was marked by this style. Although I made 2 solo albums, being the first one doing this more prog oriented or less commercial work, but anyway, it was a very cool thing to play for the audience we wanted to reach. Right now we are really into progressive.

Which are your main influences on guitar? Which are your favorites guitar players?

Definitively Steve Hackett. Then Andy Latimer and Pat Metheny. I always loved that style of playing, because it is very melodic.

Which are the best guitar players of Venezuela?

The best guitar players in my opinion are not current­ly playing with any rock band. They are Alvaro Falcon and Juan Angel Esquivel. Alvaro is running his wife's band (Biella da Costa) with jazz influences and Juan Angel plays in my band (when I play concerts locally supporting my solo albums) and is a very well known jingle composer.

Are there any other genres of music that influences you?

Beside being a prog records collector, I also heard a lot of fusion and some post rock works like Tortoise. I always like all the Steely Dan catalogue and Sting is on of the most complete musicians I ever met.

Do you think that in Venezuela progressive and symphonic rock has the chance to be consolidated? What Venezuela needs that make an strong movement of progressive rock?

Venezuela has very good and fine musicians, but we don't have enough prog bands, because of a lack of interest from people. Since the reunion of Tempano an number of important people has contacted us and some of them have founded an association called ACIC that will promote events in this genre. Better times are coming for good music in our country.

GAT do you think of other genres of rock in Venezuela like Heavy Metal?

There are many heavy bands in Venezuela, but the movement is totally underground.

For many people symphonic and progressive rock are the same thing, but the truth is that both are different genres. For Pedro Castillo, which are the differences between symphonic and progressive rock? Under what genre is Tempano located?

Prog moves with more freedom between styles and trends while symphonic is more classical oriented. Tempano is definitively in the prog branch.

Your guitar work on the album Childhood's End is very moving, more into details, a lot of arrangements and effects and less about playing solos and making straight intros. Tell us about this. Are you thinking of playing more aggressively and playing more solos on your next record?

I like to build pads and atmospheres with the guitar and place little details along the songs. To be honest, I'm not a fast player, so I'm aware when I have to play solos not to enter 'dangerous zones'! My approach to solos is more melodic.

Musea Records (one of the most important labels on progressive rock) and many specialized magazines consider Tempano as one of the top ten bands of progressive rock in the world of today. What do you think about this? What does it feel like to be considered on such a position?

It's an honor for us! And we are very happy for that consideration coming from people with a lot of experience like Musea and those publications. Those comments make a compromise for us to continue giving our best and records more interesting music for the audience.

When and where did the friendship between Tempano and After Crying started?

We met in Baja Prog 1999 and asked Peter to join us for the new album and the result was great, because Peter is an excellent musician and he added a special touch to the sound of our last album. Peter is a very sensitive person. A great friend!

Anglagard, Anekdoten, Pår Lind Project, After Crying, Sinkadus, Porcupine Tree and Flower Kings are just some of the bands that started their career on the 90's. What's your opinion about that the movement of symphonic and progressive rock? Do they deserve it?

Actually those bands present a response of the lack of creativity these days. Prog is growing and getting stronger every day, thanks to the internet! But that's just one reason for the change.

Which are the immediate plans for Tempano? Are you planning to record another record?

Yes, we are planing the new album which will be called The Agony And The Ecstasy and it'll be out early next year.

Have you thought of including some Latin percussion elements on Tempano's music?

Personally I would like to include some ethic Venezuelan percussion in the sound of Tempano (tambores) and probably on the next album you'll hear something with this colors and textures.

Discography (prog and symphonic rock genre):

Atabal Yemal    (1979 re-edited on 1998)
Childhood's End   (1999)

Roberto Palmitesta


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